Cathy Davey is a jewel in the Irish music scene. Her charmingly ramshackle debut 'Something Ilk' and its more refined follow up 'Tales of Silversleeve' have cemented her place as one of the most talented songwriters to come out of Dublin, as equally capable of creating sing-along worthy pop songs as stylish, heartfelt ballads. With her third album, Cathy proves she's still a force to be reckoned with.
'The Nameless' begins vibrantly with dense, elaborate arrangements, as the title track opens with its ethereal vocals and softly plucked guitar creating a ghostly atmosphere, soon to be followed by the tetchy strings and military rhythms of 'Army of Tears'. In many places, Cathy reverts back to the sparse, raw nature of her debut. 'Happy Slapping' boasts a familiar playful and childlike quality, while 'Wild Rum' hinges on buzzing bass and abrasive harmonies. Elsewhere, Davey tips her cap to 60s girl groups with a production style that allows her echoing female backing vocals to own each song, but never so much so as on single 'Little Red', its oohs and aahs combined with handclaps and retro soul strings.
True, 'The Nameless' wanes a little in the second half as slower, lighter numbers become more frequent, but with a little patience, pleasing nuances begin to reveal themselves. While the pretty if slightly contrived 'Bad Weather' conjures images of Paris in the rain, the quivering strings and frail vocals of 'Lay Your Hand' are just modest enough to be beautiful. Though it never quite matches the shine and sparkle of 'Silversleeve', 'The Nameless' is pretty special in its own right.